Cherry Blossoms and Policy: Bernalillo County Team Members go to DC Lab 3

Cherry Blossom Peak
Cherry Blossom Peak


Place Matters Action Lab 3
Washington DC, April 10, 2013

Day 1: AL3 TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE LAB -TA Accountability Plan

Attendees from Bernalillo County: Esther Abeyta, Lauro Silva, Gerald Montoya, and Julio Dominguez on the phone: Kristine Suozzi, Julie Stephens, Jessi Jensen.

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The BC Team participated in a Technical Assistance Lab, discussion the need to present to the Albuquerque-Bernalillo Air Quality Control Board, City Council and other elected officials about the mission of Place Matters, the CHER report, and to provide expert testimony on land use issues that affect health, especially in disadvantaged low income communities of color. The BC team also talked about finding assistance to bring in technical experts that can present data at public hearings.

Esther and Gerald posted a question about integrating the HIA process into a bill at the State Legislature, so that for every permit requested there would be an HIA conducted. According to some team members there has been movement in the community about the integration of HIAs state-wide with the help of State Senator Tim Keller from the International District.  The team and Common Health Action also came up with 7/30/90 day goals.


Day 2:

Tour of the Martin Luther King Memorial and participation in the Immigration March on the National Mall.

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MLK Memorial in the National Mall.

As the day went on there were several breakout sessions on the following topics:

  • How to keep the Place Matters Movement moving in a climate of limited resources.
  • How to insert a Place Matters agenda into state/federal policy.
  • Opportunities and challenges of doing Place Matters work in rural communities.

Then the night ended with the movie “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”.

The immigration reform rally was put together by several organizations including the SEIU and the message was that we need comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

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Immigration reform rally at the west lawn of the Capital










The team also got to use the DC Metro system which was clean, easy to use and very effective mode of transportation.

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DC Metro System waiting platform.

The King County Place Matters Team shared with other teams about how they coordinated their CHER report at the right time with conferences in town and took advantage of the media coverage and as a result funders came to them for proposals.

Another presenter was Jim Bloyd from Cook County.   Bloyd’s presentation was about how organizations without a strategic plan and capacity lose a lot of ground, especially with the continuity of funding sources.  Non-profits should also look to raise funds from the private sector, like banks or large businesses, which could provide autonomy from a single large funder and allow the organization to be positioned to have a strong impact in the community for a long time.  Some suggested that in order to make this practical is to give every member in the team responsibility for a key issue like fundraising, grant writing, outreach, research etc.

Also there was a Presentation titled “The Opportunity Agenda” that can be found in this link: (Missing, to be added soon)

Day 4: Visiting the Capital and informing our elected officials what the team is doing with the Place Matters Initiatives and some of the issues in Bernalillo County’s communities.

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Esther informing staffer about her community at Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Office.
Lauro and Julio having a conversation about Place Matters with staffers at Tom Udall’s office.
Maria, Gerry and Esther talking about community issues and Place Matters to staffer in Martin Heinrich’s office.